Runway Stop Lights Prove Useful At DFW

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It seems like a simple enough idea ... place lights at runway intersections that glow red when it's unsafe to cross. And it seems to be working, in an experimental installation at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. In a three-month study concluding this week, there was only one minor incursion, compared to three incursions in the previous five months. "But as long as we're still having one [incursion], we need to focus on improving the system," FAA spokesman Paul Erway told The Dallas Morning News. The Runway Status Lights are embedded into the pavement along the centerline on 14 taxiways. The system works by illuminating the five red lights when the runway is unsafe to cross. The lights work independently of air traffic control, by processing surveillance data from sensors on the airport surface. There is no green light ... the red lights click off when the coast is clear. Pilots still must contact ATC to be cleared onto the runway. The system cost $1.2 million. A similar system, using different surveillance technology, is planned to go into operation at the San Diego Airport next year.